As more cases of the Omicron variant begin to surface, one symptom is becoming more apparent among patients – a scratchy throat.

While a sore throat is a common symptom of COVID-19, the distinguishing difference with Omicron is a scratchy throat. The Hill reports this finding is based on preliminary data as well as several media outlets that have reported on the "one symptom that seems to indicate someone has the Omicron variant."

The symptom is being reported among people who have been infected with the Omicron variant and was also reported among the first cases of Omicron in South Africa, where the new strain of COVID-19 was detected.

South African doctor Angelique Coetzee, who is the chairwoman of the South African Medical Association, alerted the world to Omicron in late November after seeing the variant in her patients. She has described the symptoms of Omicron to the BBC as “extremely mild.”

“What we are seeing clinically in South Africa — and remember I’m at the epicenter of this where I’m practicing — is extremely mild, for us [these are] mild cases,” Coetzee told the news outlet last month. “I’ve spoken to other colleagues of mine and they give the same picture.”

Her patients reported their symptoms as a “scratchy throat” versus a “sore throat,” which was commonly present with traditional coronavirus symptoms. Her patients also didn’t have a cough or loss of taste or smell.

The highly transmissible Omicron variant also presents symptoms such as a headache, fatigue, body aches and pains, Coetzee told the BBC.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, symptoms of COVID-19 can include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, a new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.

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